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Nasa has a long history of partnering with automakers as PR around significant shuttle launches. The Chevy Corvette has been a permanent fixture within Nasa ever since Chevy started giving them to astronauts in the ’60s. The NASA vehicle we have our eyes fixed on now is what the astronauts will take to the launch. Rumors are swirling around that the coolest EV maker, Canoo, has been tapped to provide the next ‘Astrovan.’

The Canoo LV showing its NASA "Astrovan" potentential
Canoo LV | Canoo

What is Canoo? 

Canoo is one of the buzziest new EV companies on the market. Canoo is working to return the fun to our often overly serious automotive world. So far, Canoo has shown two concept vehicles, the Canoo Truck and the Canoo LV, a continuation of the cute VW hippie van. 

What does NASA want with a Canoo LT van?

The Canoo LV parked near water.
Canoo LV | Canoo

We aren’t the only people excited about Canoo’s lifestyle-driven EVs. Bloomberg first noticed that the ​​U.S. General Services Administration’s website mentioned a new contract with Canoo. MotorTrend notes that, according to the government website, the contract is valued at $147,855 with Canoo but is open to other bidders until later this month. 

Although details are scant, Canoo responded to MotorTrend’s questions by confirming that the EV company is working with the Government but did not elaborate further. 

What is an Astrovan? 

The Airsteam Astrovan seen here at Kennedy air center
Airstream Astrovan | Airstream

We aren’t talking about the old Chevy Astro van (although we should be). The last NASA Astrovan was the 1983 Airstream Excella. In classic Airstream style, the Excella had a stainless steel body and a sleek, futuristic design, capped by a single red, white, and blue stripe to make sure we knew which team they were on. 

The Astrovan was responsible for ferrying the astronauts the 22 mins from HQ to the actual shuttle launch pad. 

Canoo has one problem to solve before this all goes down. The Canoo LT is plenty cool enough to be used by NASA. Canoo is the coolest EV company on the market, so they have that part worked out. The problem is that the name Astrovan has already been taken. Besides the squat Chevy van, Boeing and Airstream have since built “Astrovan II” and might be touchy about sharing the name. 

When will we see the Canoo LT van? 

Although there are very few details, the word on the street is that we might hear more about this Canoo “Astrovan” sooner rather than later. 

The next NASA mission, although delayed, is a flight to the Moon known as Artemis One. NASA has been building hype for this mission for a while by sharing new rover pics and updated rocket tech. This Canoo Astrovan seems to fit in perfectly with the buzz and PR NASA seems to be trying to drum up for the launch. 

I hope this whole situation works well. For one, we love space and space travel, but we also love Canoo and hope to see them buzzing around our streets ASAP.


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